A person is entitled to receive Social Security Disability benefits (SSD) when he or she is no longer able to perform a substantial gainful activity as a result of a physical or mental impairment that will last or has lasted for at least 12 months.
To satisfy this definition of disability, a person's disability or impairment must meet or equal the level of severity described in the Social Security listing book. (“The listings”) The Social Security Listings set forth all the conditions and illnesses which the Social Security considers disabling.
The definitions of disability in the Social Security Listings of Impairments range from some forms of arthritis and uncontrolled high blood pressure to neurological disorders, orthopedic limitations and psychiatric problems, such as depression or Schizophrenia.
If a disabled person meets one of the listings, he or she will qualify for approval. Most applicants for disability benefits do not meet one of the listings at first glance and must proof that their disabling condition is the result of one condition or a number of conditions which, taken together, make them unable to work.
Specific criteria to find a person disabled is included in the Social Security Listing of Impairments. Therefore, it is important that the claimant’s doctor be made be familiar with these criteria when submitting statements on a claimant's behalf.
The claimant must also provide a list of all the doctors, hospitals, and clinics involved in a treatment of his or her condition.
WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF A DENIAL
It is not uncommon for a claim for Social Security Disability (SSD) to be denied at the first step of the proceedings. If the application for SSD is denied, it is better not to reapply from the start, but to appeal. If the application is not appealed within the time frame prescribed, the retroactive benefits may be lost.
Before a Judge gets to hear the appeal, the claimant must request a reconsideration of the denial. Both the reconsideration and the appeal to the judge must be timely done.
It is always advisable to appeal with the assistance of a qualified disability representative. Cases with legal representation have a much higher chance of winning.
I have represented hundreds of claimants in Social Security cases since 1976. I belong to the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives (NOSSCR).